An Albanian boy who was taken by his mother to Syria when she joined the Islamic State terrorist group and was orphaned and alone in a refugee camp is returning to his father's home in Italy this Thursday.
Alvin Berisha was kidnapped and taken to Syria by his mother in 2014 when he was 6, and was orphaned and lost in one of the many refugee camps in the country, Italian police said.
The boy was the target of an "unprecedented" and "unprecedented" police operation, having been located and about to arrive home in Italy.
Currently 11 years old, Alvin will return to live with his father, Afrimm Berisha, an Albanian resident in Italy for several years and who never stopped looking for him.
The search led police to the Syrian Kurdish-controlled Al Hol refugee camp, home to about 70,000 people, most of them women and children of dead or imprisoned Islamic State fighters.
Police said in a statement, it all began when an international arrest warrant was issued against Valbona Berisha, the boy's mother, for kidnapping a minor, and it turned out that she had died during a fight in Syria.
Police sources believed, however, that Alvin was in the so-called "orphan area" of Al Hol camp.
The child's identity was confirmed through face comparisons and due to a malformation in the right ear that the father had reported.
On September 10, at the request of the Milan Public Prosecutor, an international order was issued by Interpol to locate and take the boy to Italy to be a witness in a terrorism investigation.
Police said in the same statement that they had at the time initiated a "delicate chess game" between the Italian and Albanian foreign ministries to obtain the necessary documents for the Albanian child to reach Lebanon. and from there to Italy.
At the same time, the help of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent was requested to locate the boy and bring him to Lebanon, "crossing a war territory."
On the border with Lebanon, Italian police and a delegation of the Albanian government were waiting for him, who took Alvin Berisha to the Italian embassy in Beirut, where he will depart in the next few hours to his home in Barzago, Genoa.
The child's father had already told his story on the "Le Yen" program, broadcast on Italian television, "which took him to the Syrian refugee camp where Alvin was."
The boy, unable to walk well due to injuries sustained in the explosion that killed his mother, hugged his father in tears, but could not immediately leave the camp for bureaucratic reasons.
Alvin is one of about 29,000 children – most of them under 12 – who are the daughters of foreign fighters arrested in Syria and went to refugee camps, according to UNICEF.
Of these, about 20,000 are from Iraq and more than 9,000 are from 60 other countries, and there are believed to be over 1,000 more children in the same conditions in Iraq.